Posts Tagged ‘ted ginn jr’

Return of the Mack: Dolphins Sign Clifton Smith

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Hate him or love him, the Dolphins were going to miss Ted Ginn Jr.’s speed and playmaking ability on special teams (not so much in the receiving game).  Sure, he’d run out of bounds and try to avoid contact, but he also ranked fifth in kick return yards (1,296) and 14th kickoff return average (24.92) in the NFL last season.

In comes KR/PR Clifton “Batman” Smith, who could end up rivalring Brandon Marshall as the team’s most impactful and game-changing addition of the offseason.  After being waived by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, the return specialist chose to sign with Miami after also working out for the Green Bay Packers.

The 25-year-old was initially signed to the Bucs’ practice squad as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and went on to be selected to the Pro Bowl after ranking second in the NFL in punt return average (14.1) and sixth in kickoff return average (27.6).  Despite appearing in only nine games, he finished sixth in total punt return yards and (324), and scored on a 97-yard kickoff return and a 70-yard punt return.  Smith went on to improve his yards per kickoff to 29.1 (second in the league) in 2009, and his career average of 28.3 tops all active players and is the fifth-highest in NFL history.

Smith will likely take over primary punt-return duties from Davone Bess, who’s quietly been one of the worst at the position in the NFL.  Over the last two seasons, Bess has returned 49 punts, the 11th-highest total in the league, but his 8.98 yards per return rank 25th out of 35 qualified players.  Smith’s 12.09 average, on the other hand, is second behind only the New York Giants’ Dominik Hixon (12.15).

In even better news, Patrick Cobbs, who’s coming back from knee surgery, will now be relieved from handling kickoffs.  Since entering the league in 2007, he’s posted the second-lowest kickoff return average (20.48) among 72 players with at least 25 returns.  Fifth-round pick Nolan Carroll was also in contention for the job, but didn’t fare much better during the preseason by averaging 22.8 yards on nine returns.

Of course, Pro Bowl-caliber players in their prime don’t get released for no reason.  For all of his special teams contributions, Smith is virtually non-existent on offense, rushing four times for just seven yards last year.  There are legitimate concerns about his durability after a pair of concussions limited the 5-foot-8, 190-pound dynamo to 11 games in 2009 and lingering knee pain forced him to miss two 2010 preseason games.  He’s has also been extremely fumble-prone, losing the ball a whopping seven times (tied with Bess and Ginn, among others, for ninth among non-quarterbacks over the last two years) in only 20 games.

Despite the concerns, there’s no question that Smith is one of the best return specialists in the game and presents a significant upgrade for the Dolphins.  Barring injuries, he’s not likely to receive a lot of carries as the team’s fifth RB, but running behind a better offensive line in Miami should allow him to be a bigger factor on those rare occasions.

Smith will get his first test against the Buffalo Bills, who were held opponents to 21.5 yards per kickoff return (7th-best in the NFL) and 7.7 yards on punt returns (11th), on Sunday.

Miami Drops Ginn

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I bought a Ted Ginn, Jr. jersey before the start of the 2009 season and targeted him in the middle rounds of my fantasy football drafts.

Ted Ginn, Jr. catches a TD pass against New York Jets (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)
Ted Ginn, Jr. catches a TD pass against New York Jets (Hector Gabino/El Nuevo Herald/MCT)

It’s easy to forget now, but after Ginn’s terrific sophomore campaign, he had “third-year breakout” written all over him.  In 2008 — when the Dolphins went 11-5 and won the AFC East — he led the team in catches (56), receiving yards (790), return yards (711), and all-purpose yards (1,574; 18th in NFL), while scoring four touchdowns (two receiving and two rushing).  Those numbers may not jump off the page, but they stacked up very favorably to several All-Pro wide receivers who blossomed after their second seasons, including Steve Smith (1.0) and Santana Moss (not to mention, Steve Smith (2.0) and Sidney Rice last season).

Of course, Ginn didn’t come close to living up to the expectations thrust upon him as the Dolphins number one WR, taking a major step backwards to the point of being benched in favor of rookie Brian Hartline.  Ginn had only 38 receptions on the year, tied for 69th among WRs, and his 11.95 yards per reception tied him for 68th with 74-year-old 32-year-old Laveranues Coles.  He dropped nine passes — Dolphins fans would argue that’s actually being generous — which tied him for fourth in the league behind Dwayne Bowe (11), Vernon Davis (11), and Santonio Holmes (10).

Despite his struggles on offense, however, Ginn was sensational on special teams.  While his critics often lamented him for avoiding contact by running to the sidelines, Ginn led the league in yards per touch (17.9), ranked fifth in kickoff return yards (1,296), fifth in yards per return (24.92), 10th in all-purpose yards (1,826), and tied for fourth in non-offensive touchdowns (2).

He single-handedly led the Dolphins to a road victory against the New York Jets on November 1, 2009, becoming the first player in NFL history to record two 100-yard return TDs in the same game (and in one quarter, no less), on a day when the Dolphins mustered just 104 total yards on offense.  I proudly wore my Ginn jersey, just as I did on every other game day, and heard his name praised for perhaps the only time that season.

The very next week, the Dolfans’ love-hate relationship with Ginn was right back on, as he was yet again getting blamed for a loss to the New England Patriots.  He managed just one catch for seven yards, dropping several passes late in the game, and wasn’t as dramatically effective in the return game.

Once the Dolphins acquired Brandon Marshall from the Denver Broncos last week, Ginn became immediately expendable.  The San Francisco 49ers acquired him for a fifth-round pick (145th overall), hoping to use him as a situational deep threat while reviving one of the league’s worst return games.  Still only 25 years old and among the fastest and most athletic players in the league, he leaves Miami with 128 catches for 1,664 yards, a modest 34.7 receiving yards per game average, and five receiving touchdowns over three seasons.

For Ginn, it’s a fresh start in a place where he doesn’t have to deal with the giant shadow of being selected ninth overall in 2007, and hearing the boos that have haunted him since draft day, when fans were hoping to land Brady Quinn (how did that one turn out?).   While he certainly didn’t produce as well as expected, he was routinely forced to play a role that wasn’t suited to his strengths and became the scapegoat for the team’s offensive struggles.

Could Ginn have been better utilized in the slot and opposite Marshall, a true number one possession receiver?  Could he have stretched the field and found himself wide open down the field when Marshall faced double teams?  At the very least, could a proven return specialist, whose role will now need to be filled by the undoubtedly slower Davone Bess, Patrick Cobbs, and Brian Hartline, have made the offense more productive and dangerous than any player the Dolphins can draft in the fifth round?

“I wouldn’t say a sense of relief, but it’s always good to have a new start,” Ginn said. “Leaving Miami, I don’t hold any grudges, no bad feelings about anything. My time was up there. I enjoyed it there, and now it’s time to move on.”

I truly hope that he does well in San Fransisco, and while I’ll always cheer for Miami, I’ll be sure sure to wear my Ginn jersey the next time he plays against the Dolphins.

Free Agency & The Fake Ted Ginn!

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Free agency is just a few days old and it has been an exciting one for the Dolphins!  We cut Joey “Bitch, Moan and Won’t Play The Run” Porter,  “Garbage” Gibril Wilson and Akin Ayodele.  We also let unrestricted free agent Nate Jones leave for Denver. In the process we resigned Chad Pennington as a back up and paid former Cardinals inside linebacker Karlos Dansby a dump truck of money to come play for us.  And as we speak we are trying to hammer out a deal for Steelers safety Ryan Clark. One of my best friends is a Steelers fan and spoke very highly of Clark.  So did Peter King in this weeks MMQB.

I am extremely happy we resigned Penny and and pretty upset we let Nate Jones go.  Rarely do you get a player so happy to be a role player and Nate Jones loved the nickle.  He always made plays when he had to and he played is ass off on special teams.  The only problem is that Will Allen is probably going to be playing nickel next year so we had to let somebody go.  Speaking of Nate Jones, Michelle met him last week and has a video message from him that will be going up on this website so check back then.

Lastly, I wanted to tell you guys a funny story.  Saturday night a friend of mine texted me at 330 in the morning to tell me he was hanging out with a Dolphin.  He is a pretty well known musician but doesn’t know anything about football.  He didn’t know who the guy was, but he knew I was a Phins fan so he texted me. Turns out the guy he was hanging out with was Ted Ginn.  He told me that Ted Ginn called me a bitch because I didn’t want to go hang out.  I texted something about dropped passes, but then I sucked it up and met them out.  It turns out that it wasn’t Ted Ginn at all.  I mean, he looked vaguely like him, but he was too short, fat and old looking to be one of the fastest men on Earth.  I decided not to call this guy out, so I posed awkwardly for some photos with him and played a long.  At one point he pulled me aside and thanked me for not blowing his cover.  It was pretty funny.  I had a good night hanging with them anyway, so it wasn’t a total bust.  I even got a fake autograph!

Anyway, here is a pretty funny picture of me and the fake Teddy Ginn.  And remember, come back on Wednesday to check out the Nate Jones shout out.  Probably one of the last things he ever did as a Dolphin. See you soon! Go Dolphins!

Igor & The Fake Ted Ginn Jr.
Igor & The Fake Ted Ginn Jr.

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